Welcome to the culinary side of Jefferson, Texas! We have some wonderful places to dine, and they're all here to help you plan your trip to town. I should mention that these are locally-owned restaurants... we do have a McDonald's, a Subway, a Dairy Queen, and a Sonic, but I haven't listed them here because their menu is identical to the same restaurants in your hometown. Don't get me wrong - I love the jalapeno cheeseburger at Sonic and eat it once a week, McDonald's southwest salad is delicious and is a staple at our house, and DQ has some wonderful ice cream delights, but they're national food fare, and this page is about places unique to Jefferson. For visitors' opinions and experiences, check the places out on tripadvisor.com, but meanwhile, here they are in alphabetical order...

Auntie Skinner's Riverboat Club

Billing itself as a biker bar, Skinner's is a place frequented by the citizens of Jefferson. At lunchtime, in fact, you'll find people from the courthouse across the street and many of the other city and county offices dining here. It's not unusual to see a table of police officers having lunch. Things can become crowded in the evenings when bands are playing, however. It has a full menu, and everything is delicious. Their catfish po-boy is a favorite, the grilled chicken salad is a meal all by itself, but my personal favorite is the Dive Bar Burger which has a jalapeno cheese bun with sauteed onions, jack cheese, and a roasted pepper & garlic sauce on side. The only down-side is that it is one of the few restaurants in town that allows smoking, so you have to check out your neighbors when picking a table.
107 W. Austin * Jefferson, Texas 75657 * 903-665-7121 * www.auntie-skinners.com

Austin Street Bistro

This is one of my wife's favorite places to eat in Jefferson - it features soups, and sandwiches on fresh-baked bread, along with entrees such as Frittata, Crostini, Shrimp Scampi, Pecan Encrusted Salmon, and Lasagna. My wife's favorite is their Tomato Basil Soup, along with their Trio Salad and Egg Salad Sandwich on an Oatmeal Molasses Roll. The pies, cakes and pastries that you'll find on the dessert menu are all prepared there every day... Almond Pound Cake with Toasted Almond Streusel with maple butter, Pecan Caramel Torte with dark chocolate drizzle, and many more delectable items. The food is fresh and delicious, and the "sidewalk cafe" atmosphere lends a unique aire of dining to your experience at the Austin Street Bistro.
117 E. Austin St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-9700 * www.austinstreetbistro.com

The Bayou Bakery

he Bakery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner; for breakfast, my absolute favorite is the Pancake Sandwich (which isn't actually a sandwich, but is a delicious plate of pancakes, bacon, and eggs). When I'm there during lunch or dinner, you'll see me order the Texas Chili Size Hamburger, which served open-faced on a homemade bun, smothered with chili, cheese, & onion. Not only will you find great entrees like those, but there is also a glass counter filled with pastries and fresh-baked bread. As I'm leaving, I always grab a loaf of the jalapeno-cheese bread to take back home to The Grove... it's incredible!
201 W. Austin * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-2253 * www.thebakeryrestaurant.net

Big Pines Lodge

Big Pines got its start in the 1950s in Karnack, Texas, about 20 minutes away from Jefferson, and has served catfish and hush puppies ever since, even surviving a few changes of ownership. It was closed for a two-year period starting in 2009 when a tragic fire destroyed the original restaurant. Like a phoenix from the ashes, the new incarnation of Big Pines opened in 2011 in the original location, but in a brand new building reminiscent of the original. Today they serve steak, shrimp, burgers, and of course, their signature catfish. Many people go for the all-you-can-eat catfish dinner, but I find that the three-piece fillet is plenty for me. Of course, their hushpuppies are legendary, and are wonderful to snack on while you're waiting on your meal.
747 Pine Island Rd. * Karnack, TX 75661 * 903-679-3655 * www.bigpineslodge.com

Brookshire's Grocery

It may surprise you to see our local supermarket included in this list, and granted, it's not the place to go for a sit-down meal. I'm mentioning it because if you have a group of people and you need something for a picnic lunch, a tailgate party, or a parking-lot get together (yep, I see you guys doing that at Mardi Gras or the Boo Run) then Brookshires' fried chicken is something to seriously consider. It is delicious, and all the locals know it... you always see someone carrying out a box of fried chicken. They also have a variety of sides for your picnicing pleasure.
404 E Broadway St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-3601

Bulldog Pizza

If you're looking for a great pizza while in town, then Bulldog Pizza is your place... you name it, they have it - pepperoni, sausage, hamburger, cheese, veggie... but the restaurant has much more than that! A popular place for the locals, it has a full menu of non-pizza items, and a daily special ranging from chicken fried steak, to beef tips and rice, to fish & chips, to beef taco salad. They also make one of the best hamburgers that you'll find in town. And if you have a large group of folks wanting to eat together, Bulldog Pizza has a meeting room that might be perfect for your needs. The Jefferson Lions Club meets here every week - is there higher praise than that?
603 E Broadway St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-9499 * Bulldog Pizza on Facebook

The Corkyard

The Corkyard is a wonderful specialty wine and beer bar located on Austin Street just across from the General Store. They have one of the largest wine cellars in East Texas, with over fifty varieties. That's not all, though - there are also twenty-five specialty beers chilled and waiting for the clientele. Their menu ranges from a tapas platter called "The Board" featuring meats, cheeses, olives and peppers with a French baguette, to a selection of scrumptious, specialty panini sandwiches that will blow your mind and tempt your tastebuds. There are also seasonal specialties, such as their Octoberfest selections of bratwurst, kraut and German potato salad.
122 E. Austin St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-8500 * The Corkyard on Facebook

Diamond B Franchise

This Cajun Restaurant/Sports Bar opened in 2013 in one of Jefferson's historic old buildings, and serves up a menu featuring everything from catfish to burgers, and everything in between. They've had rave reviews for their burgers, but personally, I've found their catfish dinner with fries and Cajun hush puppies to be one of the best things on the menu. A good friend always gets the potato hash, with several different types of potato pieces, along with chunks of beef, all topped by a fried egg. Once he ordered it, he won't have anything else; it's become his menu favorite! The restaurant also features a full bar with great wines and a selection of beers on tap.
124 E. Austin St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-9200 * www.diamondbfranchise.com

Don Juan's Mexican Restaurant

Located beside the Inn of Jefferson just south of the intersection of Hwy 49 & Hwy 59 in Jefferson, this locally-owned and operated Tex-Mex restaurant is a local favorite... it's almost impossible to get a table Sunday at noon. They offer standard Tex-Mex dishes - enchiladas, tacos, burritos, etc - but have some specialty dishes that are out of this world. Tami's favorite is the Pechuga Tejana, which is a grilled chicken breast on a bed of rice, topped with a creamy guacamole queso sauce and melted cheese. I love their Chipotle Beef Fajitas, which is their beef fajita dish smothered with chipotle sauce and melted cheese. Prices are reasonable, and the food comes out fast.
402 S. Walcott Street (Hwy 59) * Jefferson, Texas 75657 * 903-665-6407 * www.donjuansmex.com

Excelsior House

The Excelsior House is one of Jefferson's historic old hotels - it was opened in the late 1850s and is the second-oldest operating hotel west of the Mississippi. It doesn't have a restaurant, but it's listed on this page because they do serve an awesome breakfast every morning. There's no menu or choices; everyone gets the traditional Excelsior breakfast that includes scrambled eggs, country ham, sausage, grits, fresh fruit, their legendary orange blossom muffins, snuff-can biscuits, along with orange juice and coffee. Believe me, people rave about it. If you're not staying in the hotel, then breakfast reservations are suggested 24 hours in advance, although walk-ins can often be accomodated.
211 W. Austin * Jefferson, Texas 75657 * 903-665-2513 * www.theexcelsiorhouse.com

Five "D" Cattle Company

Just a short drive from Jefferson - about fifteen minutes on Highway 49 west - is Five "D" Cattle Company. As you go through the one-block downtown stretch of the City of Avinger, just look to your right. Five "D" has been a family-owned business since its inception, and they have some of the best steaks that you'll ever put in your mouth. Jeffersonians regularly make the drive for their delicious food. My favorite is their T-bone, while my wife usually orders the flat-iron steak. For sides we get a salad and a baked potato, and round out the meal with some of the most delicious cobbler that you'll ever put in your mouth. Since Five "D" doesn't serve beer or wine, you can bring your own with you.
#8 N. Main * Avinger, Texas 75630 * 903-562-1291 * www.fivedcattle.com

Hamburger Store

The Hamburger Store has been a Jefferson institution for over a decade. At one time it was one of our favorite restaurants in town, but unfortunately both the quality of the food and the service declined in the past few years. I'm delighted to report that new owners have re-vamped the restaurant completely, and it is now very reminiscent of the old, glory days of the place... good service, delicious food, and a great atmosphere. There are incredible gourmet burgers, and my favorite (the chili-cheese burger) is so massive that you can't get your mouth around it - you have to use a knife and fork! There are also sandwiches and other goodies, but save room for the pie - it's one of their specialties, and you've never seen meringue standing so high.
101 S Market St. * Jefferson, TX 75657

The Jefferson General Store

Let me say up front that this is not a restaurant - but they are one of the city's most popular stores, and more importantly, they DO serve an entree that is a part of Jefferson's history... the Moody Dog. Decades ago the Moody family came up with a chili recipe and opened a hot dog restaurant on Austin Street. You could get them "with" or "without" - and that referred to the wiener, because the star of the item was the chili. The Jefferson General Store has become the curator of the Moody Dog recipe, and you can find them there today. It's a perfect lunch if you've had a huge B&B breakfast, and you're going to have a big dinner at one of our restaurants. Personally, I'm always popping in for a couple of Moody Dogs, and I order mine "with."
113 E. Austin St. * Jefferson, Texas 75657 * 903-665-8481 * www.jeffersongeneralstore.com

Joseph's Riverport Barbeque

This is a second-generation business here in Jefferson, and the barbecue expertise has definitely passed through the family. You can get chopped or sliced brisket, turkey, sausage, and pulled pork - sometimes even smoked whole chickens. Although some folks swear by the catfish here, I always get the barbecue. You see, I judge barbecue by how the brisket tastes the next day after being put in the 'fridge overnight, without barbecue sauce... and I can honestly say that Riverport's is some of the best that I've ever put in my mouth. You don't have to believe me, though - the place is packed with locals every meal, and the restaurant often runs out of food before the weekend evenings. It's that popular.
201 N. Polk St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-2341 * Riverport Barbeque on Facebook

Kitt's Kornbread Sandwich & Pie Bar

What started out as the "House of Pies" at another location in Jefferson ended up being one of the most unique sandwich shops in town. While they were - and still are - famous for their delicious selection of pies, at one point the proprietor decided to start serving sandwiches. Instead of regular bread they decided to try cornbread... and the rest, as they say, is history. Kitt's Kornbread Sandwiches are now legendary in Jefferson. The original is ham or turkey with American cheese, but they have others such as corned beef, vegeterian, chili/cheese, or the "redneck" - fried bologna and American cheee. Truly a unique dining experience!
125 N. Polk St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-0505 * www.kittskornbread.com

The KnightLight Restaurant, Wine Bar,
& Theater

The KnightLight is a smoke-free restaurant, wine bar & theater located in the heart of Historic Jefferson, Texas. On the corner of Lafayette and Walnut streets behind the First National bank. It features wines from around the world; handcrafted beer; stone baked, gourmet pizzas; sandwiches like their Tuscan Sub with salami and prosciutto and pepperoni or the Medieval sub with turkey, creamy brie and red onions; salads; tapas dishes; desserts and more; all served in an "Old World Setting."
202 N. Walnut St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-8546 * www.knightlighttheater.com/

Lamache's Italian Restaurant

This restaurant was originally owned by Marie Licandro, a delightful older lady who brought her family recipes all the way from Italy. We lost Marie several years ago, but Lamache's carries on her tradition of incredible Italian dining. It's located in the Jefferson Hotel on Austin Street, and was once a cotton warehouse, a dance hall with rooms upstairs (which lends a whispered, shadier past to the place), and finally a hotel. Lamache's restaurant today prepares delightful Italian cuisine and has a nice selection of wines to accompany the meal. Our favorites are the Chicken Carbonara and the Pollo Parmigiana - both are delicious.
124 W. Austin * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-6177 * www.lamache.com

River Bend Restaurant

Located on the banks of the Big Cypress Bayou by Caddo Lake, this restaurant features fried catfish, hush puppies, and all of the trimmings. All I can advise is to go hungry, because the folks at River Bend are going to bring you some serious food. When you order, they'll start you out with hush puppies - regular or jalapeno - and cole slaw. You can snack on it while your entrees are being prepared. While these are always plenty for us, appetizers are available including fried green tomatoes, gator bites, onion rings, etc. We always order their catfish, but there are other entrees as well, and I hear great things about their chicken fried steak.
211 PR 2422 * Karnack, TX 75661 * 903-679-9000 * www.riverbendoncaddo.com

Stillwater Inn

Dining at the Stillwater Inn has become an attraction for visitors to Jefferson for many years. Located in a 1890's Victorian house, the chef-owned restaurant has been the setting for fine dining since 1984. Menu selections include grilled seafood and steak, veal specials and roasted rack of lamb, all prepared to order. As well as a three-star rating in Mobil Travel Guide, Stillwater Inn was featured in the May 1993 issue of Southern Living magazine. At the Stillwater Inn you'll find elegant entrees such as shrimp scampi, roasted pork tenderloin, grilled breast of duck, prime cuts of steak, and roast rack of lamb. A primo wine list is offered to accompany your meal.
203 E Broadway St. * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-8415 * www.stillwaterinn.com

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